Vale Marianna Gajowniczek (1933-2017)

Mateusz Szczepaniak/ English translation: Andrew Rajcher , 15th December 2017
With great sadness, we announce the passing of Marianna Gajowniczek (nee Imiołek), a Righteous Among the Nations and an Honorary Citizen of the State of Israel. She died on 12th November 2017, in Warsaw, at the age of 84. In an interview with POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, she said, "I considered that if someone was in a difficult situation in life, I needed to stretch out my hand to help".

Marianna Gajowniczek was born on 6th September 1933 in Mława. She was the daughter of Antoni Imiołek and Czesława, nee Komór. In the 1930's, her family moved to Warsaw where, during World War II, they lived in the basement of ul. Dąbrówka 18, in the suburb of Saska Kępa.

Despite  their difficult financial circumstances, in January 1943, they aided escapees from the Warsaw ghetto - Leon Weinstein and his sister-in-law, Bronisława Szafran. They were hidden in a prepared hiding-place inside the apartment. At the time Antoni, suffering from tuberuclosis, could only find work doing odd jobs. Czesława, with the help of her daughter Marianna, supported the family and those in hiding. Leon Weinstein and Bronisława Szafran only emerged from hiding when the Red Army entered Praga in 1944.

After the War, Marianna Gajowniczek finished her schooling. In the years 1950-1981, she worked in the press-clippings section of the "Prasa" Workers' Publishing Co-operative and then in the Co-operative's RSW Prasa-Książka-Ruch (a state-owned newspaper monopoly). On 27th June 1985, together with her parents, she was honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. On 15th December 1991, she was made an Honorary Citizen of the State of Israel.

In the last years of her life, she was actively involved in the Polish Association of the Righteous Among the Nations. In 2009, she gave a biographical interview to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She participated in many events organised by the POLIN Museum's project, "The Polish Righteous – Recalling Forgotten History". Her story forms part of the Museum's virtual exhibition The Right Address. Hiding Jews in Occupied Warsaw. We met her for the last time on 3rd September 2017 during the annual luncheon for the Righteous, organised by The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, in POLIN Museum.

She died on 12th November 2017, in Warsaw, at the age of 84.

Read the story of Marianna Gajowniczek